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Pinewood makes new bid for future

Pinewood studios has made another attempt to build a studio complex designed to cope with the projected increase in demand for film and TV facilities in the UK.

Pinewood studios has made another attempt to build a studio complex designed to cope with the projected increase in demand for film and TV facilities in the UK. The new planning application comes soon after Pinewood became the first UK facility to install a permanent Dolby Atmos system. The Pinewood Shepperton group has made previous attempts to start work on what it has described as “the studio of the future” but planning permission was not granted after strong objections from local residents. The major obstacle is that the proposed sound stages, production offices and outdoor locations would be built on greenbelt land. The studios group has made a new application to South Buckinghamshire District Council with a revised expansion plan, now called the Pinewood Studios Development Framework (PSDF). This will add 100,000 square metres of new studios, stages, streetscapes, workshops and support premises (projected image pictured) to the existing Pinewood site. The company says this will “make a major contribution to achieving Government priority objectives to grow the UK’s creative industries, promote growth and create new jobs.” According to figures produced by Amion Consulting, the PSDF will provide £194 million in private sector investment in infrastructure and create more than 8,100 full-time jobs. “This is a critical opportunity for the creative industries and particularly for the UK film industry,” comments Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive of Pinewood Shepperton. “Global demand for filmed entertainment is increasing and the UK remains one of the leading destinations to produce creative content. We have the talent and skills and the Government has expressed its commitment to the industry through the various tax reliefs now available. Without infrastructure to meet the rising demand, the UK will inevitably turn away business. Pinewood Studios, the UK film industry and UK plc cannot afford to allow this to happen.” Expansion work and upgrading has already taken place during the last year, with the opening of the Richard Attenborough stage at Pinewood and the installation of Dolby Atmos immersive sound systems at Pinewood’s Powell dubbing theatre towards the end of 2012 and in Shepperton’s Korda theatre early this year. Giles Farley, managing director of Pinewood Post Production, observes, “The new Pinewood Studios expansion plans send the strongest possible signal that Pinewood is continually looking to invest in its facilities. Recently the company has carried out significant upgrades, for example, to its TV business, installing brand new HD galleries. And in post, the studios have become the very first facilities in the UK to be fitted with Dolby Atmos, giving mixers unprecedented control of the placement and movement of sound within the cinema. We believe these recent and planned investments will help maintain Pinewood’s leading position in the industry and continue to attract the world’s best producers of creative content.”